Welcoming the Stranger: A Panel Discussion on Religion and Immigration

This panel discussion assembles leaders to offer perspective on both national and local levels.

line drawing of a person in a chair talking, audience members, and a person with a microphone



Umrath Lounge Washington University in St. Louis

One Brookings Drive
Saint Louis, MO 63130


  • Welcoming the Stranger: A Panel Discussion on Religion and Immigration

    Ruth Melkonian Hoover, Richard Land, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Marilyn Lorenz (September 25, 2013)

The John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis will host a panel discussion about religion and immigration on September 25th, 2013, at 5:30 p.m. in the Umrath Hall Lounge.

American religious leaders have decried immigration restrictions and provided support to immigrants since the 1800s.  This trend continues today as religious groups proclaim the imperative to welcome the strangers amongst us.  Our four guest speakers will frame our conversation about this issue on which many conservative and liberal believers agree.  Presenters will inform us about national trends and share their experience on the front lines.

Professor Ruth Melkonian-Hoover of Gordon College will begin the ninety-minute panel with an overview of the work being done by religious organizations in the United States.  Dr. Richard Land, the recent president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, will explain some of the theological motivations behind this work and clarify how they relate to policy reform.  In the second half of the panel, local advocates will describe what is happening on the ground in St. Louis. Ryan Fitzpatrick, an attorney at the Interfaith Legal Services for Immigrants, will offer a legal perspective, while Marilyn Lorenz, co-founder and program director of the St. Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America and board member of Missouri Immigrant & Refugee Advocates, will speak on community education and aid to immigrants.  There will be ample time for questions following their short presentations.

If you are interested in further discussion and would like to attend the dinner following the panel, please call 314-935-9345 or email rap@wustl.edu for more information. We hope to foster fruitful conversation about the efficacy of local and national efforts to aid immigrants and support productive reform. 


  • Ruth Melkonian-Hoover

  • Richard Land

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick

  • R. Marie Griffith

    Director and John C. Danforth Distinguished Professor in the Humanities